This epic history started when the Portuguese ventured into Malaya, captivated by its riches which resulted in endless purloining of the land’s divine riches, intelligence and expertise. It all started when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain’s heinous cruelty was inflicted on the Muslims who ruled Andalusia, now Spain for nearly 700 years. Out of spite and envy due to the fall in Christian beliefs.
The last king of Al-Andalus, Muhammad XII surrendered Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella, the Roman Catholic ruler of Castille and Aragon in 1492. Muslims were forced to be baptized or otherwise cruelly murdered. Muhammad XII left Al Andalus marching away and crying. His mother said, ”Cry like a woman for a country you could not defend like a man.”
Ferdinand and Isabella funded the Portuguese voyage from which the fall of Muslims in Al Andalus made them more eager to stop the spreading of Islam. Then they stopped at what seemed to be the largest port, ever known, the centre of the largest trading and merchant centre; Melaka.
From Al Andalus to the Venice of Malaya
Some historians even believe that America and China are nothing compared to the size of Melaka’s port. Imagine if the port still exists up to this day. That would be undeniably phenomenal.
Not only that, Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) was the lingua franca, the common trade language of the world during the time of the Melaka Sultanate. Just as how we might perceive those who cannot speak English as incompetent, the same way others with a lack of Malay fluency were perceived back then. Just think, how would traders, and merchants speak to the Sultan if it were not in Malay?
The Melaka Sultanate was so great that its divinity spread across the world, notorious yet huge in military size, gold, and robust monarchy system. Hence those who came shall speak in Bahasa Melayu and no other language shall be accepted. Imagine if the Portuguese had not ventured into Malaya, Bahasa Melayu would still be the lingua franca of the world and the Port of Melaka would still be the largest known to man. But alas, fate alters all of the eastern regions.
Also, one should not have that recalcitrant attitude that one has the gall to not learn the true history of Melaka. Remember the replica of Melaka’s great palace? Surprisingly enough that is not the real thing, instead, it was just a ‘Surau’, a resting place for ministers to rest after meetings with traders, merchants, nobilities all over the world. According to word of mouth, those who lived long enough to tell the tale said the pillars of Melaka Sultanate were made from pure gold.
The picture above is where the nobilities abided and the assembly hall (Balairong) which gathered traders, merchants, and nobilities all around the world. Even in drawings, it looks phenomenal. Imagine the real thing. Due to its splendor, merchants, and traders from China, India, and the Arabian peninsular all gathered to witness Melaka’s greatness. It was the golden city, a place where if one witnessed its greatness, one would never leave.
Even the Vikings were said to have once set sail to Melaka for spices but on their way home their ship sank before they even reached Lithuania. Evidence was found when Turkish archaeologists found traces of mustard seeds, star anise, cinnamon and peppercorns on wrecks up the coast in Lithuania.
If, on 1st September 1509, a Portuguese fleet under Admiral Diego Lopez De Sequeira never sailed into Melaka harbour – the first European fleet to have ever dropped anchor into Malay waters, ultimately, the fate of all eastern Asia would not have changed and perhaps we are still able to see the real Melaka. The state we see now is merely a “door” to the larger part of Melaka which was taken, destroyed, and wiped out of history by the Portuguese.
What is left is just the words of mouths of people who lived long enough to tell the tale. But their eyes tell no lies. Why would we say what they saw was just a myth when they had witnessed Melaka’s greatness?
To reiterate, and this part of the history, all must be heedful of. One other reason Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand were so spiteful of Melaka’s greatness was because it used to be the largest Muslim population in the east! The largest ever known back then.
Remember how the spiteful King and Queen conquered Spain which was ruled by Muslims for nearly 700 years? The event of the Al Andalus (Spain ruled by Muslims) fall piqued their interest in diminishing more Muslims. And so fate alters Melaka’s greatness. It had fallen in their hands. It was said that the rulers of the Uthmaniyah empire were devastated to hear the news when Melaka fell.
In contrast to the Portuguese, King Manuel of Portugal was eagerly waiting for Melaka’s huge amount of gold reserve, which historians estimates to be worth about US$24 billion to arrive at Lisbon. $24 billion at that time alone. Imagine now. Just imagine how much the amount will be now. Bear with mind that Melaka used to be a place where the most robust military power set its course, made by the hands of those who reside in Melaka.
The expertise of navigators, huntsman, and blacksmith were envied by many. Would Melaka be the strongest, most robust economy the world has ever known, which none could ever overpower? Unfortunately, this is a huge what if scenario we can only ponder on, without ever knowing.